Everything except what works
Sent to the Wash Post, Jan 29
Rebecca Denn asks “In the era of spellcheck and auto-correct, does it matter that my son can’t spell?” (Letters, January 29).
First, it is not clear that her son is a bad speller. The public has always complained about children’s spelling, not understanding that spelling errors are inevitable.
Second, if he is indeed a bad speller, it might be because, as noted in Ms. Denn’s letter, his parents have been testing him on sight words, using flash cards, using computerized spelling tutors, and encouraging looking up words in the dictionary. They have been doing everything except encouraging the one activity that research shows is consistently associated with spelling proficiency: reading for pleasure.
Krashen, S. 1989. We acquire vocabulary and spelling by reading: Additional evidence for the input hypothesis. Modern Language Journal 73: 440-464.
Krashen, S. 2004. The Power of Reading. Libraries Unlimited.